It’s a miracle that Image approved Alex De Campi’s Twisted Romance. A 48-page romance anthology released every Wednesday in February, Twisted Romance allows comic creators and prose writers to explore the genre however they please. Each issue features a main story written and lettered by De Campi with art by a different acclaimed artist—Katie Skelly (#1), Alejandra Gutiérrez (#2), Carla Speed McNeil (#3), and Trungles (#4)—along with back-up comics by solo cartoonists and short stories by writers who work in both comics and prose. Twisted Romance is as ambitious as it is risky, and it’s nice to see Image giving it a lot of support, including an initial announcement that included where readers could find exclusive previews of each issue in the months leading up to the release.
Entertainment Weekly, Monkeys Fighting Robots, and SYFY Wire have excerpts from the first three issues, and The A.V. Club has a preview of Twisted Romance #4, which sees De Campi and Trungles taking an off-kilter approach to the fairy tale love between a prince and a princess. Their princess has no interest in becoming a part of royal society, and she runs away from her castle home in hopes of escaping the responsibilities that come with age. In the forest, she meets a snake that needs a kiss to turn back into a prince, but when she complies, he turns into a dragon prince, not a human one.
Trungles’ art has deep roots in the work of classic fairy tale illustrators like Arthur Rackham and Ivan Bilibin, reflecting their dramatic, atmospheric compositions while adding a more expressive, animated quality that makes the visuals better suited for comics. It makes Trungles a great fit for this comic, and De Campi strips down the dialogue and narration and lets her collaborator carry most of the storytelling weight. The first pages of this preview radiate opulence, but there’s also rigidity thanks to all the straight vertical lines in Trungles’ artwork. The princess’ looseness sets her apart, and when she flees to the forest, those straight verticals become intense diagonals as the environment reflects the princess’ will to break free. You can find out what happens to the princess and her new dragon companion when Twisted Romance #4 goes on sale February 28, and the first issue hits stands on February 7 for any readers craving new romance stories.